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Texas District Attorney And His Wife Shot To Death In Home


 

By Jueseppi B.

 

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Investigators outside the home of Mike McLelland, the Kaufman County district attorney, and his wife Cynthia, who were both found shot dead on Saturday.  It was the second fatal shooting of a prosecutor in Kaufman County in two months.

 

 

 

Texas District Attorney, Wife Found Dead Inside Home

 

 

 

 

 

From The New York Times:

 

Texas Prosecutor Shot to Death Two Months After Assistant’s Killing

 

 

By   Published: March 31, 2013

 

Lauren D’Avolio contributed reporting from Kaufman, and Michael Schwirtz and Serge F. Kovaleski from New York. 

 

KAUFMAN, Tex. — The district attorney in this largely rural county southeast of Dallas and his wife were found shot to death at their home on Saturday night in Forney, Tex., two months after one of his prosecutors was shot and killed while walking to the courthouse here.

 

The fatal shootings of the district attorney, Mike McLelland, 63, of Kaufman County, and his wife, Cynthia, 65, stunned law enforcement officials and local residents, many of whom were still shaken by the killing of one of Mr. McLelland’s prosecutors, Mark E. Hasse, 57, who was killed on Jan. 31 in a parking lot near the courthouse.

 

The authorities said it was too early to say if the deaths of Mr. McLelland and his wife were connected to Mr. Hasse’s shooting. But the timing of the shootings — and the killings of two prosecutors in a county of 106,000 people in the span of eight weeks — appeared to many officials to be more than coincidence.

 

“I’m really trying to stress for people to remain calm,” said Mayor Darren Rozell of Forney. “This appeared to be a targeted attack and not a random attack.” Forney is about 15 miles northwest of the city of Kaufman, the county seat.

 

Officials from several local, state and federal agencies — including the F.B.I., the Texas Rangers and the Kaufman County Sheriff’s Department — were working on the case.

 

The Kaufman County sheriff, David A. Byrnes, told reporters at a news conference on Sunday that his officers had been called to Mr. McLelland’s house shortly after 6 p.m. on Saturday and that the bodies of Mr. McLelland and his wife were then discovered inside. He would not say if there were any signs of forced entry.

 

Sheriff Byrnes said he had increased protection for other local elected officials and would be tightening security at the courthouse, although he would not go into detail.

 

“It’s unnerving to the law enforcement community, to the community at large,” he said. “That’s why we’re striving to assure the community that we are protecting public safety and will continue to do that.”

 

In the shooting of Mr. Hasse, the authorities said one or two gunmen had gotten out of a gray or silver sedan, opened fire and fled. Witnesses told investigators that the suspect or suspects appeared to have had their faces covered and were wearing black clothing and tactical-style vests. No arrests have been made, and investigators from nine agencies have been searching for leads.

 

After Mr. Hasse’s killing, Mr. McLelland appeared alongside the county sheriff and the police chief from the city of Kaufman, vowing to find those responsible and referring to the suspect or suspects as “scum.”

 

“I hope that the people that did this are watching, because we’re very confident that we’re going to find you, we’re going to pull you out of whatever hole you’re in, we’re going to bring you back and let the people of Kaufman County prosecute you to the fullest extent of the law,” he told reporters.

 

Doug Lowe, the district attorney in nearby Anderson County and a friend of Mr. McLelland’s, said the latest shootings “were a blow to all Texas prosecutors.”

 

“We’re a tight-knit group,” Mr. Lowe said. “I don’t think anyone in my group will be in fear. We’re not going to let this stand in the way of getting the bad guys.”

 

One of several angles that investigators have been exploring is whether Mr. Hasse’s killing involved members of the Aryan Brotherhood, the white supremacist gang that is active in prisons. Prosecutors in Mr. McLelland’s office had assisted in investigations of the gang, including a recent case that had targeted the Brotherhood’s leadership.

 

In that case, the federal authorities announced in November that a grand jury in Houston had indicted more than 30 senior Brotherhood leaders and other members of the gang on racketeering charges. Federal officials said the defendants had agreed to commit killings, robberies, arsons and kidnappings and to traffic narcotics on behalf of the gang. The indictments stemmed from an investigation led by a multi-agency task force that included prosecutors from Kaufman County and three other district attorney’s offices. A month later, the Texas Department of Public Safety issued a statewide bulletin warning officials that the Aryan Brotherhood was planning to retaliate against officials who had helped secure the indictments.

 

Mr. Hasse was shot the same day that two Aryan Brotherhood members — Ben Christian Dillon, also known as “Tuff,” of Houston, and James Marshall Meldrum, who nickname is “Dirty,” of Dallas — pleaded guilty to racketeering charges in Federal District Court in Houston.

 

A law enforcement official said there was no evidence so far in the investigation of Mr. Hasse’s killing that pointed to the Aryan Brotherhood of Texas. The official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because the investigation was still continuing, said that investigators believed the shootings of Mr. Hasse and Mr. McLelland were related but appeared to have been carried out by different people, perhaps from the same group or with the same affiliation.

 

But Sheriff Byrnes said he had no indication that the shootings of Mr. McLelland and his wife were the work of the Brotherhood.

 

Investigators have also been pursuing possible links between Mr. Hasse’s killing and the death of Tom Clements, the Colorado state prisons chief, who was shot and killed two weeks ago at his home in Monument, Colo., near Colorado Springs.

 

The suspect in Mr. Clements’s killing, Evan S. Ebel, 28, died after a shootout and high-speed chase with Texas law enforcement officers and sheriff’s deputies in Wise County, northwest of Dallas, on March 21. There were a number reports that Mr. Ebel had joined a white-supremacist gang known as the 211 Crew while he was in a Colorado prison, but the authorities said they were still investigating any possible links.

 

Officials in Colorado Springs who have been investigating Mr. Clements’s killing spoke on Sunday with investigators in Texas, but Paula Presley, the undersheriff in El Paso County, Colo., said it was still too early to say whether there were any connections between the killings. She said that Mr. McLelland’s killing was “very, very concerning” and that it had raised an already heightened sense of alert in Colorado.

 

Mr. McLelland was a 23-year veteran of the Army who served in the first Iraq war, according to a biography on the Web site of the Kaufman County district attorney’s office. He also worked as a diagnostic psychologist for Texas government agencies.

 

He served for 18 years as a criminal defense attorney and special prosecutor for the Department of Family and Protective Services. He and his wife had five children, including one son who is a Dallas police officer.

 

 

Thanks to The New York Times for this report.

 

 

Guess what….law enforcement sources say the weapon used in this assassination of the District Attorney & his wife was an AR-15. An assault weapon. Assault weapons are useful for one thing only…..killing humans.

 

 

How Many People Have Been Killed by Guns Since Newtown?

Answer is: 3,164 humans have dies since Sandy Hook Elementary School on December 14th, 2012.

That’s Three Thousand One Hundred & Sixth Four human lives erased in the 107 days since the Newtown, Connecticut massacre.

 

 

 

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Kaufman County Assistant DA Gunned Down In Broad Daylight Outside County Courthouse


By Jueseppi B.

 

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From WFAA.Com Dallas/Ft. Worth:

 

by MATT GOODMAN at WFAA

Posted on January 31, 2013 at 9:30 AM

Updated today at 6:09 PM

Kaufman County Assistant District Attorney Mark Hasse was shot dead outside the courthouse Thursday, spurring a complete lockdown of the grounds and an active search for the two shooters.

 

Kaufman County Sheriff’s Department spokeswoman Pat Laney said the suspects ambushed the assistant DA on his way in to court and shot him multiple times in a parking lot at about 8:50 a.m. They then fled the scene. The courthouse was locked down and later closed for the day.

 

As of 3:30 p.m., there’s been no arrest. During an afternoon press conference, Kaufman County Sheriff David Burns, District Attorney Mike McLellan and Police Chief Chris Albaugh begged the public for any information that could identify those responsible.

 

“We’re very confident that we’re going to find you, we’re going to pull you out of whatever hole you’re in, we’re going to bring you back and we’re going to let the people of Kaufman County prosecute you to the fullest extent of the law,” McLellan said.

 

Hasse, a longtime prosecutor for the Dallas County District Attorney‘s Office and current assistant DA for Kaufman County, is the man who was shot and killed, the Sheriff’s Office confirmed. He was a felony prosecutor who headed murder and drug cases.

 

Hasse joined the Kaufman County District Attorney’s Office in July 2010, records show.

 

“Mark was really a great guy, he was the consummate prosecutor, he was hard-working, loved his job, and juries loved him for some reason,” said Dallas attorney Ted Steinke, who oversaw Hasse in the Dallas County DA’s Office. “He wasn’t very large in stature, but juries loved him and he exuded confidence.”

 

Kaufman County Judge Bruce Wood told News 8′s Jonathan Betz that he was not working on any high-profile cases that required any extra security. Investigators are following up on his caseload, however.

 

However, hours after Hasse was gunned down, the Department of Justice issued a release on its website crediting the Kaufman County District Attorney’s Office with helping investigate two known members of the Aryan Brotherhood of Texas gang. They pleaded guilty the day of the shooting to racketeering charges.

 

Before the release was issued, The Dallas Morning Newscredited “authorities with knowledge of the assistant DA’s caseload” as saying he was “heavily involved” in an investigation of the Aryan Brotherhood. According to the release, Ben Christian Dillon, aka “Tuff”, of Houston, and James Marshall Meldrum, aka “Dirty”, of Dallas, both “agreed to commit multiple acts of murder, robbery, arson, kidnapping and narcotics tracking” for the Aryan Brotherhood.

 

During the press conference, Burns and Albaugh each warned against speculation, saying they are both following “several” leads.

 

“Due to the nature of them, we can’t discuss them,” Albaugh said. “As soon as we’re able to, we’d be be glad to help you.”

 

Earlier, Wood  classified Hasse’s shooting as an “ambush” and told Betz that courthouse security is always tight, but not in the parking lot.

 

“It’s a scary deal,” Steinke said. “Every prosecutor every once in a while gets a death threat, and we take them seriously, but this is the first time in 20 years that I can remember here in North Texas a prosecutor actually being assaulted.”

 

During a press conference, Sheriff David Burns and Police Chief Chris Aulbaugh said Hasse was heading to misdemeanor court when he was assaulted and gunned down.

 

“When you get up into the level, you are really attacking society as a whole because our whole society is based on our criminal justice system and getting our day in court,” Burns said. “This is not how to handle our business.”

 

The Texas Department of Public Safety sent out an alert for troopers to be on lookout for a silver “older model” Ford Taurus. According to the alert, the two suspects are wearing all black and at least one is in a tactical vest. DPS choppers are flying low over the treeline in north Kaufman.

 

Kaufman County Crime Stoppers issued a reward that quickly swelled to $30,000 Thursday afternoon for information leading to who is responsible. To submit an anonymous tip, you’re asked to call 817-847-7522. 

 

Kaufman Independent School District Superintendent Todd Williams said all schools in the district are also locked down as authorities search for the shooters. Forney ISD spokesman Larry Coker said all schools have been ordered to lock their doors until the suspects are caught. Administrators will reevaluate the plan at 2 p.m.

 

Forney is about 22 miles northwest of Kaufman.

 

“This is a crime, as our county judge said, that is against the very basis of our fabric,” McLellan said. “As far as I know, this has never been done before.”

 

In an email sent to staff Thursday morning, the Dallas County District Attorney’s Office confirmed the victim was a prosecutor and was fatally shot.

 

Below is the entire email sent by the Dallas County DA:

“This message is not intended to scare anyone but please be advised. A Kaufman County prosecutor was fatally shot a few minutes ago outside the Kaufman County Courthouse in Kaufman. Two masked gunman are the suspects. They have not been apprehended yet.

Please be aware of your surroundings when leaving the building for your safety. This is probably a isolated incident but until further notice if you plan to work past dark today please be careful and ask security for assistance escorting you to your vehicles if needed. I will keep you informed as to the arrest of the suspects when i am notified. Don’t panic but please be aware of your environment when leaving the building.”

 

Employees at businesses nearby say they’ve seen heavy police activity and heard reports of the shooting. Cathy Coulson, a real estate agent at Re/Max across from the courthouse, said she was not at work when the shooting happened, but reported seeing police helicopters searching overhead.

 

“I didn’t hear anything, I came into my office right after it happened, but I talked to one of my clients that’s two blocks behind us and he said that he heard it,” Coulson said, adding that she’s seen police walking the streets. “They don’t have time to come tell us to lock down, we have enough sense to do that; we’ve seen them going around and the helicopters.”

 

Tonya Ratcliff, a clerk at The Kaufman County Tax Office located to the right of the courthouse, said officers came inside and asked them to lock their doors.

 

Kaufman is a town of 7,000 about 30 miles east of Dallas.

 

 

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Investigators placed evidence markers in the spot where Kaufman County Assistant DA Mark Hasse was gunned down on Jan. 31, 2013. (Credit: WFAA

 

 

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Texas Department of Public Safety troopers line a street in north Kaufman following a shooting at the Kaufman County Courthouse that left a assistant district attorney dead. (Marcus Moore/WFAA)

 

 

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A prosecutor was shot dead outside the Kaufman County courthouse on Jan. 31, 2013. (Credit: Jonathan Betz/WFAA)

 

 

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Kaufman County authorities gather after Assistant DA Mark Hasse was murdered outside the courthouse on Jan. 31, 2013. (Credit: WFAA)

 

 

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The Kaufman County Courthouse was shut down after Assistant DA Mark Hasse was gunned down nearby on Jan. 31, 2013. (Credit: WFAA)

 

 

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State troopers search a Kaufman neighborhood after the county’s assistant district attorney was gunned down on Jan. 31, 2013. (Credit: WFAA)

 

 

Get The Rest of The Story & Photos at WFAA.Com Dallas/Ft. Worth.

 

 

 

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